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Paper Planes

A striking intro, a compelling chorus that harmoniously complements every line from the verse, these are the elements that comprise a particular song’s entertainment value. However, while elements, such as lyrics, contribute to a song’s appeal to the mass audience, elements can also serve as tools to state a singer’s opinion on relevant social matters. The song Paper Planes by singer M. I. A, for instance, uses the song’s lyrical content to attack the established systems that have become destructive for humankind

A blatant interpretation of the song infers to the absurdity of the unyielding problem of prejudice in the dominant western world. Particularly in the United States where immigrants are stereotypically associated to criminal activities such as murder, violence, and illegal substance transactions. The sound of four consecutive gunshots intertwined with a ring of a cash register and a choral of children most blatantly identifies the song’s implication of racial prejudice.

Likewise, the words used in the verses of the song chronicle an experience of a person in a foreign land. However, the song goes deeper than the literal meaning of the words use in its lyrics. As much as Paper Planes blatantly hints at the violence that has become rampant in modern society, it h manifests an opposition against the immorality of capitalism that ignores the actual human condition while tolerating war and violence.

The interwoven sounds of gunshots, singing children, and cash register ring together with the repeated verse lines express the futility of war, the degenerative tendency of the predominant practice of private enterprise, as well as psychological effects of violence on adults and children. Unlike other songs that seek the appreciation of the general populace, the lyrical content of Paper Plains metaphorically attacks the current prevalent social norms. The only problem is that the message it aims to disseminate becomes misconstrued by the very public it wishes to reach out to.

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